Iran vows legal steps against U.S. move to seize Iran's assets with Germany's Clearstream

Iran vows legal steps against U.S. move to seize Iran's assets with Germany's Clearstream ...
xinhuanet.com 31/08/2020 Economy

Keywords:#2015, #American, #CBI, #Central_Bank, #Deutsche, #Deutsche_Börse, #Europe, #European, #German, #Germany, #IRNA, #Iran, #Iranian, #Luxembourg, #OFAC, #Office_of_Foreign_Assets_Control, #Securities, #Tasnim, #Treasury_Department, #U.S._Treasury, #US, #USD, #United_States, #Xinhua, #Xinhuanet.com

TEHRAN, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- An Iranian Central Bank (CBI) official said on Sunday that the CBI will take legal action against a lawsuit filed in a U.S. court to seize 1.7 billion U.S. dollars of Iran's assets held by Deutsche Borse's Clearstream banking unit, Tasnim news agency reported.
"The U.S. plaintiffs are seeking legal action in U.S. courts against Clearstream. Serious legal action (by Iran) is also underway to counter these measures," said Amir Hossein Tayyebi Fard, a CBI deputy.
"The move by the United States is doomed to failure like similar American anti-Iran legal attempts that have ended in Iran's favor in recent years," a CBI statement over the issue was quoted by official IRNA news agency as saying on Sunday.
The U.S. authorities have accused Clearstream of violating U.S. money laundering and Iran sanction laws, which Deutsche Boerse has denied.
Clearstream is a post-trade services provider owned by Deutsche Börse AG. It provides settlement and custody as well as other related services for securities across all asset classes. It is one of two European International central securities depositories (Euroclear being the other).
Clearstream operates securities settlement systems based in both Luxembourg and Germany, which allow for the holding and transfer of securities.
Clearstream operates its International Central Securities Depository (ICSD) from Luxembourg. It is also a joint partner in the Luxembourgish Central Securities Depository (CSD), LuxCSD, together with the Central Bank of Luxembourg. In Germany, Clearstream operates the German CSD, Clearstream Banking AG. Clearstream has links to over 50 domestic markets worldwide, and also issues and safekeeps Eurobonds.
In 2014, the value of assets under custody on behalf of customers averaged 12.2 trillion euros; furthermore, Clearstream processed 43.65 million ICSD and 82.68 million CSD settlement transactions.
Clearstream has around 2,500 customers in 110 countries. Clearstream accepts central banks and AML-regulated credit institutions (such as regulated banks) as customers. Clearstream does not accept natural persons as customers and no account is opened in the name of a natural person. Clearstream has therefore been described as a "bank for banks" ("Plumbers and Visionaries, a history of settlement and custody in Europe", Peter Norman).
In 2008, several groups of plaintiffs commenced enforcement proceedings in the US to satisfy judgments which they had obtained against Iran by restraining certain positions held in a Clearstream securities account with its intermediary bank in the US, and asking for handover of the assets. Clearstream challenged the restraints and the handover.
In 2011, the plaintiffs filed additional claims, this time directly against Clearstream, for damages of USD 250 million in connection with the purported wrongful conveyance of some of the restrained positions. Clearstream entered into a settlement agreement with the plaintiffs that became effective in 2013. The settlement provided for the dismissal of the direct claims against Clearstream, and that the plaintiffs will not further sue Clearstream for damages and in return, Clearstream agreed to not further appeal an order directing the turnover of the restrained customer's assets to the plaintiffs.
In 2013, a number of US plaintiffs from the 2011 case, as well as other US plaintiffs, filed a complaint targeting certain blocked assets that Clearstream holds as a custodian in Luxembourg. In 2015, the US court issued a decision dismissing the lawsuit.
Arising from the above, the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) investigated certain securities' transfers in 2008 within Clearstream's settlement systems regarding US Iran sanctions regulations. These 2008 transfers had been undertaken as part of the decision taken by Clearstream in 2007 to close its Iranian customers' accounts. In 2013 Clearstream entered into settlement talks with OFAC. The matter was resolved in 2014 through a settlement and payment of USD 151.9 million that does not constitute a final determination that a violation of Iran sanctions had occurred.
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